A dog that consistently earns the number one spot on the annual American Kennel Club list of the most popular breeds, the Lab was named in honor of the Labrador region of the colony of Newfoundland in Canada. The dog is so popular that National Labrador Retriever Day is celebrated by many.
In tribute to two of the breeds that originated from the area, today statues of the Labrador Retriever and the Newfoundland stand at Harbourside Park in the city of St. John’s in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The product of pairing St. John’s Water Dogs with British hunting dogs, these serene and intelligent dogs have been employed for such vital jobs as that of guide dog, military working dog, police dog, rescue dog and detection dog.
Pet parents of a Labrador Retriever share their love of the breed with such notable dog devotees as:
- Former President Bill Clinton, whose dog Buddy was the first Labrador Retriever to live in the White House. (Although Buddy crossed Rainbow Bridge in 2002, the Clinton’s love for Labs continued when Seamus, another chocolate Lab, was welcomed into their family.)
- The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, helped Nemo, a Lab/Griffon mix named after the main character in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, turn the page to a new chapter in his life by adopting him from La Societe Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) Refuge d’Hermeray. (Here’s an interesting fact: In 2020 Nemo took part in a video to promote pet adoption and raise awareness of a bill which would earmark funds for animal shelters and give harsher punishment to those who abuse animals!)
- Queen Elizabeth may be known as a fan of the Corgi, but the monarch also knows that Labs rule! Royal dogs Sabre, Sherry, Snare and Sydney are a few of the Labrador Retrievers who have been canine companions of the Queen.
- Prince Charles had a barking buddy in a yellow Lab named Harvey back in the early 1980s.
- A young Prince William had a four-pawed pal in Widgeon, a black Lab who answered to a name associated with freshwater ducks.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Lab, Pula (which means “rain” in Setswana) joined The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in a photo for their 2020 Christmas card.
- Royal/equestrian Zara Tindall (the daughter of Princess Anne) also loves Labs, and welcomed black Labs Pepper and Storm into her heart and home.
In centuries past, this Italian gun dog made a splash as a retriever, diving in lakes and ponds for game.
In modern times this breed (which is also called the Romagna Water Dog) has made a big splash in the world of the culinary arts as a retriever of truffles!
The curly-coated canines’ talent of foraging for the subterranean fungus has even garnered the Lagotto Romagnolo the honor of being the sole purebred searcher of the tasty Tuber.
A pooch with a plethora of names, among them the Cumberland, the Fell, the Patterdale and the Westmoreland Terrier, this British breed’s most well known name pays homage to England’s Lake District.
Just as the Lakeland Terrier has many monikers, it also has many breeds to thank for its existence, including the Welsh Terrier, the Old English Black and Tan Terrier (which is now extinct), the Beldington Terrier, the Border Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier.
Two Lakeland Terriers have won the title of Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog Show, with Stingray of Derryabah receiving the honor in 1968 (as well as the title of top dog at the prominent British dog show Crufts in 1967) and Jo Ni’s Red Baron of Crofton garnering the award in 1976.
Also known as the Ormskirk Heeler or Ormskirk Terrier in a nod to the town where the breed began, this English dog is believed to be closely related to both the Welsh Corgi and the Manchester Terrier. Onced employed to herd livestock, the Lancashire Terrier is scarcely seen today, with less than 300 of its number remaining.
Although the beauty of many breeds has been captured on canvas by artists, only one has earned the honor of being named after a prestigious painter. This black and white version of the Newfoundland, which appears in several works by the English painter/sculptor Edwin Landseer, originated in Canada due to pairings of water dogs and livestock guardian dogs.
Although dog devotees in the United States and Great Britain may wonder why the Landseer is listed separately from the Newfoundland, as both consider the canines the same breed, the Landseer is seen as its own breed throughout continental Europe.
Known as the Reindeer Herder and the Lapland Reindeer Dog, these Finnish four-legged wonders were among the dogs who herded caribou for the Sami people.
As was the case with many breeds, the population of the Lapponian Herder diminished greatly due to World War II, Bouncing back after the war thanks to the efforts of Swedish and Finnish breeders, in 1966 the Lapponian Herder received official recognition as its own breed.
Named in honor of the region in Germany where the breed began at the start of the 20th century, this gun dog is closely related to the German Longhaired Pointer. So much so, in fact, that the Large Münsterländer was not recognized as a separate breed by the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom until 1971.
Named in honor of the German town where the breed began back in the 1840s, these lion-esque working dogs (affectionately known as Leos) shares DNA with the Landseer Newfoundland, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog and a predecessor of today’s Saint Bernard, the Barry der Menschenretter.
Pet parents of a Leonberger share their love of the breed with such notables as Emperor Napoleon III, Great Britain’s King Edward VII and King Umberto I of Italy.
Originating in Sardinia, this sighthound is a scarce sight, with only 100 believed to still be in existence. The dog is also known as the Sardianian Greyhound due to its physical similarities to that breed, and Vertreddru (“little hunting dog”) in reference to its skill at field sports.
Honoring Tibet’s capital of Lhasa (the city of the breed’s beginning) through its name, this lap dog is an ancient breed with a history that stretches back to 800 A.D.
Through the centuries the Lhasa Apso has shared a close bond with Tibetan Buddhists, who believe that the reincarnated souls of priests who have passed often inhabit the bodies of the tiny dogs, living their life in canine form before returning to the world as a human.
Pet parents of a Lhasa Apso share a love of the breed with prominent dog devotees past and present, among them Elizabeth Taylor, Liberace, Queen Sofia of Spain, Gwen Stefani and the Dalai Lama.
As the country of Lithuania’s only native dog, this hunting dog has been immortalized in sculptures which stand in the city of Vilnius as well as in Telsiai, where the breed was born.
Dog-loving numismatists also had the chance to add a canine-inspired item to their collection in 2017 when a commemorative coin was released which featured two Lithuanian Hounds posed alongside a Lithuanian horse called the Zemaitukas.
A rare breed, the Lithuanian Hound– which is thought to be related to the St. Hubert Hound– has hunted such diverse game as rabbit and boar since the 15th century.
At one time the rarest dog on Earth, with less than 70 of the breed in existence in the early 1970s, the “Little Lion Dog” has yet to roar back from the brink of extinction. However, efforts are underway to change the fate of this non-shedding Löwchen, which once played the role of companion to members of European aristocracy.
A relatively new breed on the scene, the “Italian wolf” originated in 1966 with the pairing of an Alsatian wolf and a wolf from Northern Latium Apennines.
The controlled breeding of the Lupo Italiano has led to approximately 500 dogs, some of whom are employed to work alongside forest rangers, aiding rescue efforts.
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